Drakenstein Freedom

Determined non-conformist reformers arrive
As dispossessed Huguenots ready for something new
Shedding the cloak of oppression as they leave Europe behind
Kicking off pantofles to roam the vineyards, [i]
While the turtle dove tip-toes forward
Calling liberté, liberté. [ii]
Dogged campaigner ready for release
After a quarter-century’s detention for sabotage  
Leaving the barbed wire with clenched fist and new shoes
For a world waiting for something better,
While the turtle dove tip-toes forward
Calling amandla, awethu. [iii]
Resolute Afrikaners approach the mountain
To celebrate a language woven from a converging past
Absorbing the idiom of the day to become something new
So they can tie up their velskoens with pride, [iv]
While the turtle dove tip-toes forward
Calling work harder, work harder.
March 2012

There are three significant monuments in the Drakenstein Valley in South Africa’s Western Cape:
- the Huguenot Monument in Fransch Hoek,
- the Nelson Mandela Statue where he was released from the Drakenstein Correctional Centre (Victor Verster Prison), Paarl
- the Afrikaans Language Monument on Paarl Mountain.
Click here for photos of Drakenstein Valley

Huguenot Monument, Fransch and the Mandela Statue, Drakenstein Correctional Centre -  © Paul du Plessis 
Afrikaans Language Monument - by courtesy Chell Hill

          Afrikaans Language Monument                                  Nelson Mandela Statue, Drakenstein Correctional Centre


[i]    A 17th century French slipper; the Afrikaans for slipper – pantoffel.
[ii]  One of the most distinctive of South African bird calls, with prolonged emphasis on the middle syllable.
[iii]  The rallying cry of the ANC – ‘power – to us’
[iv]  Southern African walking shoes made of rough tanned leather and pronounced fell-skoons.